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[5] Air France vs. Carrascoso 18 SCRA 155 (1966)

[5] Air France vs. Carrascoso 18 SCRA 155 (1966)

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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
ManilaEN BANC
G.R. No. L-21438 September 28, 1966AIR FRANCE,
petitioner,vs.
RAFAEL CARRASCOSO and the HONORABLECOURT OF APPEALS,
respondents.
Lichauco, Picazo and Agcaoili for petitioner.Bengzon Villegas and Zarraga for respondent R.Carrascoso.
 
SANCHEZ,
 J.:
The Court of First Instance of Manila
1
sentenced petitioner to pay respondent RafaelCarrascoso P25,000.00 by way of moral damages;P10,000.00 as exemplary damages; P393.20representing the difference in fare between firstclass and tourist class for the portion of the tripBangkok-Rome, these various amounts with interestat the legal rate, from the date of the filing of thecomplaint until paid; plus P3,000.00 for attorneys'fees; and the costs of suit.On appeal,
2
the Court of Appeals slightlyreduced the amount of refund on Carrascoso's planeticket from P393.20 to P383.10, and voted to affirmthe appealed decision "in all other respects", withcosts against petitioner.The case is now before us for review on
certiorari
.The facts declared by the Court of Appeals as" fully supported by the evidence of record", are:Plaintiff, a civil engineer, was amember of a group of 48 Filipino pilgrimsthat left Manila for Lourdes on March 30,1958.On March 28, 1958, the defendant, AirFrance, through its authorized agent,Philippine Air Lines, Inc., issued to plaintiff a"first class" round trip airplane ticket fromManila to Rome. From Manila to Bangkok,plaintiff travelled in "first class", but atBangkok, the Manager of the defendantairline forced plaintiff to vacate the "firstclass" seat that he was occupying because,in the words of the witness Ernesto G.Cuento, there was a "white man", who, theManager alleged, had a "better right" to theseat. When asked to vacate his "first class"seat, the plaintiff, as was to be expected,refused, and told defendant's Manager thathis seat would be taken over his dead body;a commotion ensued, and, according to saidErnesto G. Cuento, "many of the Filipinopassengers got nervous in the tourist class;when they found out that Mr. Carrascoso washaving a hot discussion with the white man[manager], they came all across to Mr.Carrascoso and pacified Mr. Carrascoso togive his seat to the white man" (Transcript,p. 12, Hearing of May 26, 1959); and plaintiff reluctantly gave his "first class" seat in theplane.
3
1. The trust of the relief petitioner now seeksis that we review "all the findings"
4
of respondentCourt of Appeals. Petitioner charges that respondentcourt failed to make complete findings of fact on allthe issues properly laid before it. We are asked toconsider facts favorable to petitioner, and then, tooverturn the appellate court's decision.Coming into focus is the constitutionalmandate that "No decision shall be rendered by anycourt of record without expressing therein clearlyand distinctly the facts and the law on which it isbased".
5
This is echoed in the statutory demandthat a judgment determining the merits of the caseshall state "clearly and distinctly the facts and thelaw on which it is based";
6
and that "Every decisionof the Court of Appeals shall contain completefindings of fact on all issues properly raised beforeit".
7
A decision with absolutely nothing to supportit is a nullity. It is open to direct attack.
8
The law,however, solely insists that a decision state the"essential ultimate facts" upon which the court'sconclusion is drawn.
9
A court of justice is nothidebound to write in its decision every bit andpiece of evidence
10
presented by one party and theother upon the issues raised. Neither is it to beburdened with the obligation "to specify in thesentence the facts"
which a party "considered as proved"
.
11
 This is but a part of the mental processfrom which the Court draws the essential ultimatefacts. A decision is not to be so clogged with detailssuch that prolixity, if not confusion, may result. Solong as the decision of the Court of Appeals containsthe necessary facts to warrant its conclusions, it isno error for said court to withhold therefrom "anyspecific finding of facts with respect to the evidencefor the defense". Because as this Court wellobserved, "There is no law that so requires".
12
Indeed, "the mere failure to specify (in the decision)the contentions of the appellant and the reasons forrefusing to believe them is not sufficient to hold thesame contrary to the requirements of the provisionsof law and the Constitution". It is in this setting thatin
Manigque
, it was held that the mere fact that thefindings "were based entirely on the evidence forthe prosecution without taking into consideration oreven mentioning the appellant's side in thecontroversy as shown by his own testimony", wouldnot vitiate the judgment.
13
If the court did not recitein the decision the testimony of each witness for, oreach item of evidence presented by, the defeatedparty, it does not mean that the court has
 
overlooked such testimony or such item of evidence.
14
At any rate, the legal presumptions arethat official duty has been regularly performed, andthat all the matters within an issue in a case werelaid before the court and passed upon by it.
15
Findings of fact, which the Court of Appeals isrequired to make, maybe defined as "the writtenstatement of the ultimate facts as found by thecourt ... and essential to support the decision and judgment rendered thereon".
16
They consist of thecourt's
"conclusions"
with
respect to thedeterminative facts in issue
".
17
A question of law,upon the other hand, has been declared as "onewhich does not call for an examination of theprobative value of the evidence presented by theparties."
18
2. By statute, "only questions of law may beraised" in an appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Court of Appeals.
19
That judgment is conclusiveas to the facts. It is not appropriately the business of this Court to alter the facts or to review thequestions of fact.
20
With these guideposts, we now face theproblem of whether the findings of fact of the Courtof Appeals support its judgment.3. Was Carrascoso entitled to the first classseat he claims?It is conceded in all quarters that on March28, 1958 he paid to and received from petitioner afirst class ticket. But petitioner asserts that saidticket did not represent the true and completeintent and agreement of the parties; that saidrespondent knew that he did not have confirmedreservations for first class on any specific flight,although he had tourist class protection; that,accordingly, the issuance of a first class ticket wasno guarantee that he would have a first class ride,but that such would depend upon the availability of first class seats.These are matters which petitioner hasthoroughly presented and discussed in its brief before the Court of Appeals under its thirdassignment of error, which reads: "The trial courterred in finding that plaintiff had confirmedreservations for, and a right to, first class seats onthe "definite" segments of his journey, particularlythat from Saigon to Beirut".
21
And, the Court of Appeals disposed of thiscontention thus:Defendant seems to capitalize on theargument that the issuance of a first-classticket was no guarantee that the passengerto whom the same had been issued, wouldbe accommodated in the first-classcompartment, for as in the case of plaintiff he had yet to make arrangements uponarrival at every station for the necessaryfirst-class reservation. We are not impressedby such a reasoning. We cannot understandhow a reputable firm like defendant airplanecompany could have the indiscretion to giveout tickets it never meant to honor at all. Itreceived the corresponding amount inpayment of first-class tickets and yet itallowed the passenger to be at the mercy of its employees. It is more in keeping with theordinary course of business that thecompany should know whether or riot thetickets it issues are to be honored or not.
22
Not that the Court of Appeals is alone. Thetrial court similarly disposed of petitioner'scontention, thus:On the fact that plaintiff paid for, and wasissued a "First class" ticket, there can be noquestion. Apart from his testimony, see plaintiff'sExhibits "A", "A-1", "B", "B-1," "B-2", "C" and "C-1",and defendant's own witness, Rafael Altonaga,confirmed plaintiff's testimony and testified asfollows:Q. In these tickets there are marks "O.K."From what you know, what does this OK mean?A. That the space is confirmed.Q. Confirmed for first class?A. Yes, "first class". (Transcript, p. 169)x x x x x x x x xDefendant tried to prove by the testimony of its witnesses Luis Zaldariaga and Rafael Altonagathat although plaintiff paid for, and was issued a"first class" airplane ticket, the ticket was subject toconfirmation in Hongkong. The court cannot givecredit to the testimony of said witnesses. Oralevidence cannot prevail over written evidence, andplaintiff's Exhibits "A", "A-l", "B", "B-l", "C" and "C-1"belie the testimony of said witnesses, and clearlyshow that the plaintiff was issued, and paid for, afirst class ticket without any reservation whatever.Furthermore, as hereinabove shown,defendant's own witness Rafael Altonaga testifiedthat the reservation for a "first class"accommodation for the plaintiff was confirmed. Thecourt cannot believe that after such confirmationdefendant had a verbal understanding with plaintiff that the "first class" ticket issued to him bydefendant would be subject to confirmation inHongkong.
23
We have heretofore adverted to the fact thatexcept for a slight difference of a few pesos in theamount refunded on Carrascoso's ticket, thedecision of the Court of First Instance was affirmedby the Court of Appeals
in all other respects
. Wehold the view that such a judgment of affirmancehas merged the judgment of the lower court.
24
Implicit in that affirmance is a determination by theCourt of Appeals that the proceeding in the Court of 
 
First Instance was free from prejudicial error and "allquestions raised by the assignments of error and allquestions that might have been raised are to beregarded as finally adjudicated against theappellant". So also, the judgment affirmed "must beregarded as free from all error".
25
We reached thispolicy construction because nothing in the decisionof the Court of Appeals on this point would suggestthat its findings of fact are in any way at war withthose of the trial court. Nor was said affirmance bythe Court of Appeals upon a ground or groundsdifferent from those which were made the basis of the conclusions of the trial court.
26
If, as petitioner underscores, a first-class-ticket holder is not entitled to a first class seat,notwithstanding the fact that seat availability inspecific flights is therein confirmed, then an airpassenger is placed in the hollow of the hands of anairline. What security then can a passenger have? Itwill always be an easy matter for an airline aided byits employees, to strike out the very stipulations inthe ticket, and say that there was a verbalagreement to the contrary. What if the passengerhad a schedule to fulfill? We have long learned that,as a rule, a written document speaks a uniformlanguage; that spoken word could be notoriouslyunreliable. If only to achieve stability in the relationsbetween passenger and air carrier, adherence to theticket so issued is desirable. Such is the case here. The lower courts refused to believe the oralevidence intended to defeat the covenants in theticket.The foregoing are the considerations whichpoint to the conclusion that there are facts uponwhich the Court of Appeals predicated the findingthat respondent Carrascoso had a first class ticketand was entitled to a first class seat at Bangkok,which is a stopover in the Saigon to Beirut leg of theflight.
27
We perceive no "welter of distortions by theCourt of Appeals of petitioner's statement of itsposition", as charged by petitioner.
28
Nor do wesubscribe to petitioner's accusation that respondentCarrascoso "surreptitiously took a first class seat toprovoke an issue".
29
And this because, as petitionerstates, Carrascoso went to see the Manager at hisoffice in Bangkok "to confirm my seat and becausefrom Saigon I was told again to see the Manager".
30
Why, then, was he allowed to take a first class seatin the plane at Bangkok, if he had no seat? Or, if another had a better right to the seat?4. Petitioner assails respondent court's awardof moral damages. Petitioner's trenchant claim isthat Carrascoso's action is planted upon breach of contract; that to authorize an award for moraldamages there must be an averment of fraud or badfaith;
31
and that the decision of the Court of Appealsfails to make a finding of bad faith. The pivotalallegations in the complaint bearing on this issueare:3. That ... plaintiff entered into a
contract 
of air carriage with the Philippine Air Lines for avaluable consideration, the latter acting asgeneral agents for and in behalf of thedefendant, under which said contract,plaintiff was entitled to, as defendant agreedto furnish plaintiff, First Class passage ondefendant's plane during the entire durationof plaintiff's tour of Europe with Hongkong asstarting point up to and until plaintiff's returntrip to Manila, ... .4. That, during the first two legs of the tripfrom Hongkong to Saigon and from Saigon toBangkok, defendant furnished to the plaintiff First Class accommodation but only afterprotestations, arguments and/or insistencewere made by the plaintiff with defendant'semployees.5. That finally, defendant
failed to provide
First Class passage, but instead furnishedplaintiff only
Tourist 
Class accommodationsfrom Bangkok to Teheran and/or Casablanca,... the plaintiff has been
compelled
bydefendant's employees to leave the FirstClass accommodation berths at Bangkok
after he was already seated
.6. That consequently, the plaintiff, desiringno repetition of the inconvenience andembarrassments brought by defendant'sbreach of contract was forced to take a PanAmerican World Airways plane on his returntrip from Madrid to Manila.
32
x x x x x x x x x2. That likewise, as a result of defendant'sfailure to furnish First Class accommodationsaforesaid, plaintiff suffered inconveniences,embarrassments, and humiliations, thereby causingplaintiff mental anguish, serious anxiety, woundedfeelings, social humiliation, and the like injury,resulting in moral damages in the amount of P30,000.00.
33
x x x x x x x x xThe foregoing, in our opinion, substantiallyaver:
First 
, That there was a contract to furnishplaintiff a first class passage covering, amongstothers, the Bangkok-Teheran leg;
Second
, That saidcontract was breached when petitioner failed tofurnish first class transportation at Bangkok; and
Third,
that there was bad faith when petitioner'semployee compelled Carrascoso to leave his firstclass accommodation berth
"after he was already,seated"
and to take a seat in the tourist class, byreason of which he suffered inconvenience,embarrassments and humiliations, thereby causinghim mental anguish, serious anxiety, woundedfeelings and social humiliation, resulting in moraldamages. It is true that there is no specific mentionof the term
bad faith
in the complaint. But, the

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